July 30, 2009

Royal Fireworks - Handel vs Hendrix

Pop Plaque Plan Rocks Classicists

Thus rean a headline in the London Times of 16 March 1995. The Handel House Trust, headed by Dr. Stanley Sadie, had acquired 25 Brook Street, Mayfair, Handel's home for 39 years, and with number 23 next door wished to turn it into a museum devoted to the composer.

Problems arose when English Heritage expressed a desire to decorate the front of number 23 with a commemorative plaque dedicated to the rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix who had lived in the house in 1969.

Dr. Sadie promptly deemed such a move "inappropriate", perhaps mindful of the fact that Hendrix had only lived in the house for a few months prior to his squalid death the following year.

While Sadie acknowledged Hendrix as "an important figure in the history of pop music", the star himself was unimpressed with Handel: "To tell you the God's honest truth, I haven't heard much of the fella's stuff."

Opposition to the plaque for Hendrix shocked a former lover ("Hendrix has sold more records than Handel...he's more relevant in today's society than Handel..."), while another acolyte opined that a certain musical elitism was at work.

Denying any such motive , Dr. Sadie pointed out that his New Grove Dictionary of American Music carried a long entry for Hendrix. In a small masterpiece of understatement this volume has the final word on the star: "He was not gifted with a naturally fine singing voice."
Taken from the Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Music, Helicon Publishing 1997

Here's a link to the Handel House Museum. http://www.handelhouse.org/the-house/


willow said...

Wonder what the sign was going to say? Hendrix meets Handel?

einbildungskraft said...

so what happenend!!?

A compromise? A large plaque and a tiny one for Hendrix? After all Handel composed, and Hendrix was just a supertalented guitar player, right, did he compose his own songs?
Has his star already faded, over time? Does your little pup know Hendrix, does mine?

The Clever Pup said...

I'm not sure about the plaque although the museum has recognized Hendrix with pictures, humourous plays etc.

I'm pretty sure Hendrix wrote most of his stuff. My pup knows him - he knows a lot of classic rock.

Handel wins - hands down, but Jimi will remain a major player, whose influence will remain. He's an icon.

crivens jings and help ma blog said...

It would be nice to see some compromise here. after all they ahsre so much in common. They were both talented musicians, and erm had names that started with 'H' and of course those killer hairdo's.

Love the blog. Keep up the good work.


Candie Bracci said...

What the hell!

Even if I would chose definitely Hendrix,I would have share.

But hum..Handel might have the place but pleeeeeeeeeeease,Hendrix's got all the rest!